Dubai: Where Global Events and Business Converge Successfully in Style


Dubai, the global business, and financial hub, has made remarkable progress in its journey to becoming a global hub for events. It has successfully hosted landmark events like Expo 2020, the first World Expo in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, which attracted participants from 192 nations, in addition to GITEX Global, Arab Health, Arabian Travel Market and more. Dubai further aims to host 400 global economic events annually by 2025, as per reports.  

What makes Dubai so appealing as an events destination? In addition to its strategic geolocation, world-class connectivity and infrastructure, and extensive tourism offerings, Mohammed Saleem, Founding Chairman of Trescon, a global business events and consulting firm, highlighted Dubai's position as not only a global business hub but also a thriving centre for future technology and innovation.

He said, “The city has its eyes on the future, with a strong focus on sectors like Fintech, AI, e-commerce, and renewable energy."

Mahir Julfar, Executive Vice President of Venue Services Management at Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC), believes there are multiple reasons for this success. DWTC has been instrumental in developing the Meetings, Incentives, Conferences & Exhibitions (MICE) sector in the region for more than four decades.


PC – GITEX Global

He stated, "Since its inauguration in 1979, DWTC has hosted over 5,000 events across a broad range of global industries and sectors such as technology and innovation, healthcare, energy and sustainability, real estate and construction, trade and transport, food and hospitality."

One of the key factors that has worked in Dubai's favour is its efficient handling of the COVID-19 pandemic and the rapid recovery the UAE made.

Julfar highlighted, "The agile response to, and handling of, the pandemic by the Dubai Government, as well as DWTC's role as the MICE sector leader, enabled Dubai to be the first city globally to host an in-person event during the pandemic (AI Everything, July 2020) and play a leading role in the industry's global resurgence, with visitor and event organiser confidence continuing throughout 2021."

This resilience and success led to strong bounce-back performances for returning legacy DWTC-owned events like GITEX Global. This in turn presented an opportunity for Dubai to host internationally relocated events.


PC – GITEX Global

Reports suggest that Dubai has already secured over 143 congresses, conferences and more in the first half of 2023, with an astounding 44% YoY growth, showcasing the region's increasing global profile and potential for long-term investments, economic benefits, and growth in local employment. It is expected that these events will draw an additional 94,000 plus visitors to Dubai, including global leaders and industry experts. 

Saleem further emphasized the city's heavy investment in technology and innovation, making Dubai a leader in the digital space, with impressive technology parks, innovation centres, and start-up incubators supporting the growth of technology companies and entrepreneurship.

Dubai's forward-thinking approach and supportive infrastructure create an ideal environment for future tech events. Expo City Dubai, for example, serves as a buzzing ecosystem where innovative ideas flourish and collaborations thrive.

Manal AlBayat, Chief Engagement Officer of Expo City Dubai, explained, "From the outset, we were committed to hosting a World Expo that would deliver long-lasting economic, social, and environmental benefits." She added, "In the first year since its launch, Expo 2020's legacy city - Expo City Dubai - has evolved into a vibrant community to live, work, and visit."

Apart from this, organizations like Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC) also offer numerous advantages for event organizers, exhibitors and visitors. Julfar highlighted the benefits of a strategically located hub between the east and west, world-class infrastructure, a pro-business environment, and a highly attractive tourism and lifestyle proposition.

Dubai's achievements and recognition in various domains further enhance its appeal as an events destination. In 2023, Dubai was ranked the number one destination globally in the TripAdvisor 2023 Travelers' Choice Awards.

The city was also named the world's safest city according to H1 2023 data released by Numbeo and ranked in the top spot in the Arab world for offering the most economic opportunities for investors and residents by the World Citizenship Report 2023.

Additionally, Dubai retained its top spot for attracting greenfield FDI projects in 2022, according to the latest data from the 2022 Financial Times 'fDi Markets' report.

What factors should an event organizer consider while looking at Dubai as a destination? Saleem added that it is crucial to set clear goals and milestones that align with Dubai's positioning as a global business hub. He emphasized the importance of understanding the target audience, conducting thorough market research, and gaining insights into the diverse demographic profiles, interests, and expectations of the attendees. This knowledge enables organizers to curate tailored events that meet specific requirements and deliver exceptional experiences.

Establishing strong relationships with local suppliers and vendors is another essential milestone when entering the Dubai market. Collaboration with reliable and reputable partners who understand the local market dynamics ensures seamless event execution. Dubai Business Events (DBE), the city's official convention bureau, can offer valuable guidance and support in connecting with local suppliers who can provide necessary resources and services.

Creating a strong brand identity that resonates with the target audience is an essential goal for event organizers in Dubai. Additionally, embracing technology and innovation plays a vital role in event success. Saleem highlighted the importance of Dubai's investments in emerging technologies such as AI and blockchain.

Expo City Dubai stands as a blueprint for sustainable urban living, committed to maximising its positive social, environmental, and economic impact. AlBayat, stated, "We are proud to host COP28 and share similar objectives, working together to identify solutions and promote international action to secure a sustainable future for generations to come." The comprehensive sustainability strategy of Expo City Dubai galvanizes action on its decarbonisation journey.

DWTC's success in hosting MICE events is evident in its 2022 statistics. It hosted 244 MICE events, with 40% international visitors and an impressive 72% international exhibitors representing 184 countries. These results not only supported Dubai's success in surpassing global business tourism recovery levels but also reaffirmed its leadership as a global capital for the MICE industry. Dubai was named the world's number one destination for association meetings by the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA).

The uniqueness of Dubai as an events destination lies in hosting the first World Expo held in the Middle East, Africa, and South Asia region. AlBayat explained, the event set new benchmarks, promoting gender equality, accessibility for people of determination*, job creation, upskilling, and the growth of the knowledge economy. Despite the uncertainties of the pandemic, Expo 2020 Dubai registered over 24 million visits, reflecting its resounding success.


Dubai's commitment to a sustainable future is evident in its ongoing initiatives, such as the Expo Live Innovation Programme and the Expo School Programme. These initiatives support projects that improve people's lives or preserve the planet, foster a spirit of discovery and learning, and inspire future generations.

The result of Dubai's endeavors is a brand-new city of the future, a blueprint for sustainable living, where homes, offices, museums, attractions, educational experiences, wellness facilities, amenities, and dining options are within a 15-minute reach.

In summary, Dubai's status as a global business hub, its investments in technology and innovation, and its commitment to sustainability contribute to its appeal as a vibrant destination for event organizers.

By understanding the needs of the diverse local and international business community, building strong relationships, and creating a distinctive brand identity, organizers can thrive in Dubai's dynamic events industry. The city offers an enabling, collaborative, and innovation-driven ecosystem that promotes connections, knowledge-sharing, and new opportunities for businesses worldwide.

*The UAE refers to people with disabilities as 'people of determination' in recognition of their achievements in different fields.

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